Cantor Gaming has released their college football season win totals for the upcoming 2012 season. Every time I first take a look at these numbers, there are a few that immediately jump out as being too high to comfortably consider taking the “over.” Here are five that definitely fit into that group this year.
Florida State (10.5)
Remember last year when Florida State and their massive amounts of talent beat up everyone on the way to a National Championship? No? That didn’t happen, of course, though lots of people would have told you it was going to before the season started. Instead, they dropped three in a row in September, and another in November for good measure.
There is a lot of talent here, but until Jimbo Fisher proves he can manage that talent and get the most out of it, then it’s sound practice just to be skeptical of this squad. It has been a long time since the performance of this team on the field has come close to rivaling their reputation, and while they are clearly talented and potentially dangerous, I’m still not totally a believer.
Will they be better than last year? Probably. Do they have a manageable schedule? Yes. Are they good enough to win at least 11 games? Perhaps, but I’m not as convinced as this number would suggest I should be. I’m all over the “under.”
Over the longer-term I think the move to a major conference is going to serve the Horned Frogs well—and they are going to be a force in the Big 12. They have one massive adjustment to make in the short-term, though—suddenly they can be forced to play tough games several weeks in a row. No more targeting a couple of tough opponents and cruising through the rest.
There are some serious potential pitfalls this year: trips to SMU, Oklahoma State, West Virginia and Texas, with the last three over five weeks, could be very tough, and then they end the season against Oklahoma.
This team could win nine or 10 games, or they could run out of gas and falter compared to our recent expectations for them. In my eyes, the latter is far more likely.
You’ll notice that a trend continues here and into the next two teams as well—I’m skeptical of teams that have really high totals placed on them.
This is obviously a talented and loaded team. There is an assumption that seems to be nearly universal, though, that this squad can just keep replacing all the parts they lose through the draft each year without missing a step. Sooner or later that will fail to be as effective as it has been.
This team has the potential to win 11 or 12 games. They also have several spots that could be problems if they aren’t burning at the full intensity they have been at for so many years now.
Michigan is going to be very hungry heading into the opener and could be a challenge if the Tide aren’t ready. Trips to Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee and especially LSU could be challenging. Closing against Auburn is never easy, even if the Tigers should be a step or three behind the Tide this year.
I’m not saying Alabama will lose all of those, or even any of them. I’m just saying that this is an optimistic total, and I struggle to be quite so optimistic about the team.
At best, this is a pass.
You could say many of the same things about the Tigers as I said about the Tide. They have the potential to win it all, but they also have some tough games.
Trips to Auburn, Florida, Texas A&M and Arkansas are all winnable for the Tigers, but if they falter or lose focus—something they have shown they can do in the past—then anyone could bite them. They also host Alabama in a huge game that will obviously be a loss for one of these teams, and they play a potentially tough one against South Carolina.
They absolutely can win 11 or 12 games, but I’m not certain enough that they will to bet on it, or even consider doing so.
This is another big total I am skeptical of. This was a very good team last year and they still lost two games. This year their schedule should be just a little easier up front—Arkansas State won’t likely put up as much of a fight as LSU did last year. Outside of their trip to USC, there isn’t a game that they likely won’t be solidly favored in.
I mostly just don’t trust the mindset of this team, though. Some of their off-field drama and Chip Kelly’s serious flirtation with the NFL this offseason (h/t Matt Hinton of Yahoo! Sports) could make it easy for things to quickly go off the rails here if any cracks appear. To take the over of a number like this, you really need to like a team. I don’t, so I’ll pass.
College Football Season Win Totals from Cantor Gaming
N.C. State 7.5
Penn State 6.5
Georgia Tech 7.5
North Carolina 7.5
Michigan State 8.5
Virginia Tech 9.5
Florida State 10.5
Kansas State 7.5
Ohio State 8.5
Oklahoma State 8.5
Ole Miss 3.5
West Virginia 8.5
Texas A&M 7.5
Mississippi State 7.5
South Carolina 8.5
Arizona State 5.5
Washington State 5.5
Notre Dame 8.5
Boise State 9.5